Meralco import Allen Durham refused to make excuses in the aftermath of a 92-99 elimination loss Saturday to Alaska in Game 4 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals.
Durham did almost everything for the Bolts, putting up 31 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. His efforts throughout the entire series, though, were not enough to carry the team into the finals.
It's a bitter pill to swallow for Durham, who towed the Bolts to the big dance in the last two editions of the season-ending conference. But he's trying to take it in stride.
"It's hard to swallow but Alaska, they played hard. They won three games in a row, they're deserving of where they're at right now," he said.
"We didn't make the finals this time, that's different. But I don't know, I just feel like in this game, we just didn't have the energy in the second half like we should have to push it to a Game 5. Alaska just wanted it more."
Saddled by injuries to key players, Meralco reeled to a 1-6 start in the conference. But thanks in large part to Durham, the Bolts were able to spark a six-game winning streak to reach the penultimate stage.
Ranidel de Ocampo, Cliff Hodge and Jared Dillinger were reduced to spectators as they recovered from injuries with Meralco in contention. Dillinger returned during the quarterfinals and provided quality minutes for the team.
The Bolts persevered. They took the semifinals opener before dropping the next three of the best-of-5 affair to give Alaska a safe passage to the finals, where it will face Magnolia starting Dec. 5.
Durham was adamant afterward when he emerged from the dugout at the Cuneta Astrodome that injuries were not an excuse for falling short.
"We can't really come up with excuses you know, injuries happen to key players," he said. "That's no excuse because when we made it to the finals, we had some injuries too. We just didn't execute in this series like we should have and it hurt us."
Given the circumstances his team was in, Durham said the Bolts exceeded expectations.
"How we started, it wasn't how we wanted to start but we showed grit and fight to get to this point. I'm sure a few games ago, nobody expected us to get to the semis," he said. "We didn't get over the top like we wanted to but I'm still proud of my guys for how hard we fought to get to here."
Asked if he will come back next season, Durham answered in the affirmative.
"That's my plan, I'm still trying to get a ring so I'm gonna keep working until I can't run or jump no more. We'll see what happen," he said.